Prince Charles’ Queen’s speech gives a world a glimpse of the future king

It was the most significant of his mother’s roles that he has taken on to date. For the first time in two centuries, an heir to the throne read aloud the words compiled by the government.

The crucial difference in 1811 was that the future George IV was standing in for his mentally incapacitated father George III. Charles was simply deputizing.

The Imperial Crown.

The Imperial Crown.Credit:Getty

“In this year of my Platinum Jubilee, Her Majesty looks forward to the celebrations taking place across the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth, and to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer,” the Prince of Wales told the Lords, making sure it was known she is down but by no means out.

Charles has long avoided overshadowing his mother with any discussions of his future reign.

As the longest-serving heir apparent in history it has taken some discipline.

For the British government it was meant to be a moment to wrestle back an agenda after a chaotic few weeks marred by scandal, sleaze, a cost of living crisis and a belting at the council elections.

These speeches in the past are events where the focus is on policy. It was a significantly scaled-back ceremony. For Royal standards, anyway.

Traditions surrounding state opening and the delivery of a speech by the monarch can be traced back as far as the 16th century. The current ceremony dates from the opening of the rebuilt Palace of Westminster in 1852 after the fire of 1834. The Queen has opened all but two times during her reign. The exceptions were in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

And so, the sight of Charles, with the Imperial State Crown placed on a red cushion on the table next to him, couldn’t help but distract from any substance of the agenda of Boris Johnson’s government.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall sat on a chair of state to his left, while William, the Duke of Cambridge sat on the other chair of state to his right. It sent a powerful message of continuity.

Prince Charles reads the Queen's speech: Prince Williams to his left, and Camilla, Royal Consort to his right.

Prince Charles reads the Queen’s speech: Prince Williams to his left, and Camilla, Royal Consort to his right.Credit:Getty

Carriages were replaced with state cars and there was no Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry. No Foot Guards lined the streets. The Regalia – the Imperial State Crown, the Cap of Maintenance and Sword of State – poked from windows of the palace Bentley.

The state trumpeters sounded a royal fanfare as Charles arrived at the Sovereign’s entrance with the Duchess of Cornwall, dressed elegantly in a head-to-toe navy outfit and wearing an eye-catching navy hat with a white sash.

Charles, who has raised eyebrows for his perceived activism on issues such as the environment in the past, did not deliver the speech with his trademark sense of passion and feeling. He read the words written for his mother with detachment and a sense of duty.

Queen Elizabeth II: still on the throne.

Queen Elizabeth II: still on the throne.Credit:Getty

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The Queen, after 70 years, may still reign over us but the question must be asked if she will ever return to this duty again?

The sight of a future king, more ready for his next role, has left us with little doubt that things are soon about to change forever.

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